Crime re-creation using small axe and melons #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter


He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

From project backer, Joanna Harks: “I always felt this crime was a part of me… Every morning I look forward to these updates….. I get tears in my eyes and my whole being seems to open up.  I knew this crime had affected me personally, however not like this.  I feel so grateful for sharing in the making of this book as (my little girl in me) seems to be able to express feelings that have been hidden for over 55 years… I am now 59 and this book is personal therapy for me!”

 The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

[Det. McKay] is convinced the murderer was a woman.  There is the shoe and the coat and the blows, which destroyed the two young lives, were not heavy ones.  Just severe enough to fracture the skulls of both.  Had a man swung the hammer, which fits the declivities in the skulls of both, the bones would have been badly shattered.

At least one of the victims was wearing a leather aviator helmet, which would affect the impact of the hatchet. Gilbert (Investigative Significance of Coup and Contrecoup Head Injuries, 1990) cautions investigators to also consider that a child’s skull can be dramatically different from the fully developed adult skull.  The child’s skull is more elastic, and will accept a blow without fracturing, leaving an indented point of impact instead.

For the purposes of gathering illustration resources, I took two art therapy students out today to re-create the impact a hatchet would have on a child’s skull using leather on melons.  The experiment today was humorous, though this was in no way meant to make light of the actual case itself.  It is only by experimenting, questioning and considering, however strange and gruesome, that we can get closer to the truth in this case.

Experiment 1:

Strong impact (watermelon with faux leather aviator helmet)


Experiment 2:

Light impact (cantaloupe with real leather patch)- this most accurately reproduced the wounds seen in the actual skulls.


It was interesting to note that, though the melons were damaged significantly on impact, the leather and the faux leather remained intact.

Despite the melons being covered, there was “blood splatter.”

We re-created “the scene” using watermelon remains… My dog, Tobey was a tad confused (and concerned):

From The Province, October 17, 1986

Thank you Miko and Alicia for en eventful fun day!

To read more on this particular research section go to my rough notes in: To Put Flesh on Bone (PDF)

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!

[1] Turvey, B. (2002). Criminal Profiling- An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis.  (2nd Edition) San Diego, California: Academic Press.

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